Jess Commons | Deputy Editor | Friday, 12 June 2015

The Conservatives Might Be Cutting Student Support Grants. FFS.

The Conservatives Might Be Cutting Student Support Grants. FFS.

The Debrief: The proposal, that's been blocked once already, is now being touted as 'likely' to happen

How’s this for some cheery Friday news? Turns out the government might be bringing back their excellent (not) idea to cut grants paid out to students from low income backgrounds.

Up until now, students who come from a family with combined incomes of less than £25,000 are entitled to a grant of £3,387 per year, a number that decreases the higher the income. Support stops when the household income reaches £42,000.

Now though, former Conservative advisor Nick Hillmann has told Newsnight that these grants might be on the way out, saying, ‘I do think it’s likely to happen, yes.’ He then went on to say that, ‘Although it causes big problems – it will mean bigger debts for students, including poorer students – it’s better than reducing the number of university places.’

The same proposal was looked at back in 2013, but was blocked by then deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. Which erm, makes us think he was probably responsible for a lot more stuff that was in our interest than we might have given him credit for at the time. Sorry, Nick.

Should the new proposals come in, it’s going to be a real struggle for many university students to survive; there’s currently 500,000 reliant on the grants. Others will probably be put off the idea of heading to university altogether – if they were already struggling to get their head round the rise in tuition fees, this may well be the thing that prevents a university education altogether.

The government has refused to comment on the matter, merely saying, ‘Officials are looking at everything.’ 

The National Union of Students though, was quick to have its say. ‘We know that our poorest students are the most likely to be deterred by debt, but it could also affect where students choose to live and which courses to take. It will mean staying at home instead of moving into halls,’ said NUS vice president Megan Dunn.

‘If grants are cut, it could mean the cost of student loans will go up for everyone or repayment conditions will get toughter than they already are. This is yet another unreasonable barrier to accessing higher education.’

So, there you have it kids, what a nice cheery piece of news for the weekend...

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

In Defence Of Not Moving To London When You Graduate

Some Inevitable Arguments You’ll Have With Your New Uni Housemates

Students Sue College For ‘Making Them Have Vagina Tests’

Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons

Picture: Getty